AP NEWS

Inside the Beltway: Inappropriate: Americans reject politics at Oscars

February 22, 2019

They are no-shows. Two-thirds of Americans will not watch the Academy Awards: 65 percent say they are not planning to watch any of Sunday’s glittering but often predictable show; 81 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and even 53 percent of Democrats agree. So says a new YouGov poll, which also suggests a contributing factor to this disinterest.

The survey also found that 48 percent of Americans say it is “inappropriate for Oscar winners and hosts to discuss politics in their speeches.” There’s a partisan divide here, of course: 84 percent of Republicans reject Oscar politics, as do 52 percent of independents but only 22 percent of Democrats.

The respondents appears braced for the political onslaught, however. Half expect there to be “more politics than usual” this year. Six-out-of-10 GOPers and 51 percent of independents and 47 percent of the Dems agree. And one more thing. About half of all Americans say it “makes no difference” to them one way or another if actors or movies win an Oscar in the first place, a sentiment is shared by 61 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of independents and 46 percent of Democrats.

The survey also found that much of the nation would like to see awards given out for best performance by a rookie actor, best voices in a major animated feature and best stunt coordination. Oscar fatigue has been on the rise, meanwhile. Ratings for the show dropped by 19 percent last year to an all-time low of 26.5 million viewers. The number was 43.7 million only five years ago.

WHAT REAGAN SAID AT THE OSCARS

On March 31, 1981, Oscars, President Reagan offered a video greeting at the 53rd Oscars awards hosted by Johnny Carson, with guests that included Peter O’Toole, Diana Ross, Mary Tyler Moore, Michael Jackson, Robert Duvall, Sigourney Weaver and Peter Ustinov.

Reagan had been shot in an attempted assassination 24 hours earlier; he had prerecorded his message a week earlier. The White House cleared the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to use the tape.

“The miracle of American technology links us with millions of moviegoers around the world. It’s the motion picture that shows us all how we look and sound, but more important, how we feel. When it achieves its most noble intent, film reveals that people everywhere share common dreams and emotions. Tonight I applaud all who create, make, distribute, exhibit and attend movies. I salute the Academy for its influence on the world’s most enduring art form. Film is forever. I have been trapped in some film forever myself,” Reagan told the audience, who laughed with delight, and applauded with gusto.

Reagan, who appeared in 50 films, never received an Oscar a fact that a public petition sent to the Academy itself in 2018 wanted to remedy.

“The Academy has the power to grant Honorary Oscars at its discretion, and has issued awards posthumously in the past, in some cases decades after the recipient’s death. At a time when our country is divided and Hollywood is riddled with scandal, putting politics aside and recognizing this great actor and statesman admired as a gentleman even by his opponents would set a shining example and right a great historical wrong,” the petition noted.

AND IT’S ON TO NORTH KOREA

Coverage for President Trump’s historic second meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un begins this weekend an event which has a most promising theme. The president seeks “transformational peace,” and is “committed to achieving a bright and secure future for all people on the Korean Peninsula and across the world,” the White House says.

Fox News is prepared, and will present live coverage of the summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, beginning Sunday, to continue with special on-site programming throughout the week. Chief national correspondent Ed Henry will anchor the preview fare, to be followed by Sean Hannity, who appears live from Hanoi as well, beginning Monday. An exclusive interview with Mr. Trump following his meeting will be a highlight later on in the week. More to follow. Watch this space.

TRUMP ALLIES HAVE A SAY

The Log Cabin Republicans a grass-roots organization founded over four decades ago which represents LGBTQ conservatives and Republicans has positive things to say about President Trump’s recent initiative to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., as well as an emerging strategy announced last week to curtail decriminalization of homosexuality “in dozens of nations where it’s still illegal to be gay,” according to an NBC News report.

“By taking this action the administration brings attention to a major human rights violation and positions the United States as the leader to end this injustice. We are proud to see this effort and look forward to working with the administration to bring about an end to the prosecution of the LGBTQ community. The United States must stand firm on human rights and lead our allies and adversaries to end discrimination and prosecution,” says the organization’s executive director Jerri Ann Henry.

“We believe in limited government, strong national defense, free markets, low taxes, personal responsibility, and individual liberty. Log Cabin Republicans represents an important part of the American family taxpaying, hard working people who proudly believe in this nation’s greatness,” the organization says in their mission statement.

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POLL DU JOUR

44 percent of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of sanctuary cities; 74 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall have a favorable opinion of sanctuary cities; 9 percent of Republicans, 29 percent of independents and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

15 percent overall are undecided or “can’t say”; 12 percent of Republicans, 17 percent of independents and 16 percent of Democrats agree.

9 percent overall have never heard of sanctuary cities; 4 percent of Republicans, 15 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Fox News poll of 1,004 registered U.S. voters conducted Feb. 10-12 and released Wednesday.

Facts and chatter to jharper@washingtontimes.com.